Update on Operation Majestic 12 Documents

by Stanton T. Friedman
April 2004
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It should be no surprise that the various highly classified Operation Majestic 12 or Majic-12 or MJ-12 documents have been attacked since their existence was first made public. Equally unsurprising is the fact that a number of phony or hoax or fraudulent MJ-12 documents have been released as well. Clearly if the original documents: The Eisenhower Briefing Document (EBD) of November 18, 1952; the Truman-Forrestal Memo (TFM) of Sept. 24, 1947 (page 8 of the EBD); and the Cutler-Twining Memo (CTM) of July 14, 1954 (found in July, 1985, in Box 189 of Entry 267 of Record Group 341 at the National Archives by Jaime Shandera and William Moore) are genuine, then the consequences are enormous. Aliens are visiting earth; the government has recovered at least one crashed saucer and several alien bodies; and a very significant group of outstanding American scientists and military leaders has collected, reviewed, evaluated, and kept secret all kinds of information about the visitors. Man is NOT alone and the government has covered up the biggest story of the millennium at least since 1947.

Ten years after the 1984 receipt of a roll of exposed 35mm film by Jaime Shandera at his Burbank, California home and his efforts with William Moore and myself to evaluate them, a new roll of film showed up in the mailbox of aviation and science writer (and longtime ufologist) Don Berliner. This contained many pages of SOM 1-01: Majestic 12 Group SPECIAL OPERATIONS MANUAL: "Extraterrestrial Entities and Technology, Recovery and Disposal." Meanwhile Tim Cooper, a researcher in Big Bear Lake, California, began receiving loads of supposedly related MJ-12 documents. There would appear to be no connection between the original three documents and the SOM 1.01 (Mailed from Wisconsin rather than Albuquerque, NM) or the mass of Tim Cooper documents which were usually in the form of Xerox copies, often only legible with difficulty and received by him by mail or dropped off at his PO Box.


There seem to be several distinct groups attacking the documents:

A. There are those who believe (despite all the evidence to the contrary) that no alien spacecraft have ever visited Earth. Therefore, any documents saying that they have must be false. No need to do a detailed investigation, to spend time in Archives, research the people involved, etc. THEY MUST BE FRAUDULENT!!

B. There are those who are convinced that some UFOs are indeed alien spacecraft, but that no saucer crashed near Roswell because they haven't found any other classified documents indicating any have. Karl Pflock in his book (Ref.1) epitomizes this approach. If no saucer crashed at Roswell, then the documents must be fake.

C. There are several former military people who are convinced that the documents must be false because the style, format, details, etc. do not match what they would have expected them to be based on their military service from the 1960s onward. This ignores the many changes in office procedures (copy machines, word processors, etc.) and the fact that the White House is a civilian organization not a military one.

D. There are a lot of armchair theorists who think they can make judgements without doing any homework at all.

In much of the discussion one finds the use of the four basic rules for debunking of any controversial idea:

1. What the public doesn't know, I won't tell them.

2. Don't bother me with the facts, my mind is made up.

3. If one can't attack the data, attack the people; it is easier.

4. Do one's research by proclamation; investigation is too much trouble.

Another important rule for some of the attackers is that "Absence of Evidence is Evidence for Absence." Karl Pflock and others cite numerous documents, mostly only classified Secret, that say nothing about Roswell or MAJESTIC 12. This, of course, neglects the fact that there are still numerous documents from the Truman and Eisenhower eras 1945-1961 that are still classified, that we rarely see documents that have classification stamps of TOP SECRET Code Word (TSCW). I was told in November, 2003, by an archivist at the Ike Library that they still have about 300,000 pages of classified documents. We know that the NSA classified 156 UFO documents (found in response to a Judge's directive) as TOP SECRET UMBRA when they finally released a highly expurgated version (about two lines per page are not covered with Wite-Out), supposedly because that information is about sources and methods. Why would it be listed under UFOs if only 5% is about UFOs?

In addition, as a result of my spending a lot of time at twenty different Document Archives from coast to coast, I can say that almost never does one find TSCW documents about anything. The best documents for comparison with the EBD would be the four National Security Briefings for President-Elect Eisenhower presented by DCI Walter B. Smith in the time period between Ike's election on November 4, 1952, and January 9, 1953, when Smith informed President Truman of his security briefings for Ike before and after the election. Unfortunately, despite my FOIA request to the CIA and a subsequent appeal to their response ("We have nothing in response to your request" even though I gave the dates and times of two of the briefings), we have no such documents for comparison.

I won't try to cover all the existent literature on the documents. There is my 1990 108-page "Final Report On Operation Majestic 12" (Ref. 2) and my 272-page 1996 book "TOP SECRET/MAJIC" (Ref. 3). There are several lengthy papers (Ref. 4-8) and Kevin Randle's new book "Case MJ-12" (Ref. 9). There are also numerous statements on the Internet.

Academics have found it necessary to jump into the fray as well, often without benefit of any research. For example, Carl Sagan (Ref.10) said "The Air Force says the documents are bogus. And UFO expert Philip J. Klass and others find lexicographic inconsistencies that suggest the whole thing is a hoax." He seemed to be unaware of the fact that Klass had paid me $1000.00 for providing more than fourteen documents done in exactly the same Pica typeface as the Cutler-Twining Memo though Klass, on the basis of nine Elite Typeface documents (obtained by him by mail, he had never been to the Ike Library) of the 250,000 pages of NSC material at the Ike Library, had insisted the CTM should have been done in Elite! Some lexicographic research! Our correspondence and a copy of his check to me are in Ref. 2.

Dr. Robert Alan Goldberg in the Roswell Chapter of his book "Enemies Within" (Ref. 11) stated
Evidence of malfeasance was plentiful. Critics noted that the date format did not conform to governmental style, the papers carried no top secret registration number, military titles were improperly noted and signatures appeared to be grafted on to the document. Anachronistic usages like "media" and "impacted" further betrayed the find.
Goldberg is a Professor of History at the University of Utah. Anybody spending much time at the Truman and Eisenhower Archives would find many different date formats in classified, limited distribution, old documents. In Ref. 2 I published three brief cover memos from CIA Director Allen Dulles to White House Staff Secretary Colonel Andrew Goodpaster, done within a ten-day period, using these three date formats: 12 November l956... November 20, 1956... And NOV 22 1956 (Rubber stamp) and even noted one file folder that had seven date formats and found examples of both Roscoe Hillenkoetter and W.B. Smith (DCIs and MJ-12 members) using the day, month, comma, year format of the EBD. Goldberg didn't bother to check the Oxford Dictionary. Both "media" and "impacted" were in use at the time. I will discuss military titles below.


The old military guys have persistently attacked the fact that the EBD, the TFM, and the CTM items all lacked a TOP SECRET CONTROL number. They vociferously insisted that all TS documents must have a TS control number.

Ed Stewart made a truly strong claim on UFO UPDATES:
For those who might not be aware, here is something that you will not hear from Stanton T. Friedman, even though he is well aware of the fact having visited the archives on many times in his own words. RG 341 is a record group with nothing but declassified Top Secret documents. All documents in the group are filed by control numbers. If a document did not have a Top Secret control number, it would not have been able to be filed in RG 341. Repeat, every document in RG 341 is a Top Secret document that has been declassified and has a control number, the entire record group.
This was a truly incredible proclamation and is totally false. One might be forgiven for thinking Ed was claiming to have reviewed all of RG 341. Record Group 341 has 9787 cubic feet of material (about 1000 4-drawer filling cabinets). I have, since 1985, had a 56-page Preliminary Inventory of the Records for RG 341 which lists various entries and how many feet of files are in each and how much of the total is TS: typically only a few percent. For example "Unclassified through Secret, Incoming and Outgoing messages 1946-Dec. 1957", 1743 ft. Entry 21 of RG 341. "Top Secret Incoming and Outgoing Messages, Oct. 1947-Jan, 1958", 51ft. Entry 23 of RG 341. In other words there were only 3% (51 of 1743) as many TS messages as those through SECRET. Furthermore many of the documents are still classified. I pointed this out on the UFO Updates Internet interest group. Ed's response after a few days of silence was
My apologies to Stanton Friedman. On attempting to verify the statements I made with the source of the information, it became apparent that much that I had posted related to RG 341 was misleading to false. I asked for clarification, which was promised, but after four days was undelivered. I felt a reply to Friedman's last message needed to be time-sensitive to be of any value. Thus my apology to Stanton Friedman and readers of this mailing list for having posted the first paragraph of my last message which is not supported by facts. Unfortunately, I will not be available for further discussion on the UFO subject. I have decided there isn't anyone in this field that I really care to associate with any longer regardless of what their opinions are.
Like the kid who takes his marbles and goes home.

Jan Aldrich who, like Ed, is quite knowledgeable about army classification procedures, later picked up the same argument even after I pointed out that I had been told by the Archivist Larry Bland at the General George Marshall holdings in Virginia, that if they had to use TS control numbers in Marshall's day, on all TS documents, we would still be fighting WW 2. I noted that an archivist at the Ike Library said that often the White House didn't use TS Control numbers. I had published two TS documents without control numbers in Ref. 2 in 1990. One would think they were relevant since they came from Robert Cutler and wound up in General Nathan Twining's papers at the Library of Congress Manuscript Division. Jan said it would only count if the originals at the Ike Library had no TS Control numbers. Dr. Herbert Pankratz at the Ike Library graciously supplied me with a Xerox copy of the one memo he found (It indeed had no TS control number) and noted in writing on January 9, 2003, "We have numerous documents classified as 'TOP SECRET' which do not have control numbers on them." I should stress that, of course, many TS documents do have TS control numbers -- especially when there are multiple copies of a many-page document. The EBD says "Copy One of One."


Many including the US government have made a big thing about the typed security marking on the brief CTM: TOP SECRET RESTRICTED over a line saying SECURITY INFORMATION. The point is that supposedly this was never used and doesn't make sense because TOP SECRET is the highest category and RESTRICTED is the lowest. The Archives in their first version (May 9, 1988) of a commentary about the CTM stated "The Acting Director of the FOI office of the NSC informed us that TSR is a marking which did not come into use at the NSC until the Nixon Administration [1969]. The Eisenhower Presidential Library also confirms that this particular marking was not used during the Eisenhower Administration." They later corrected several false claims in response to data provided by me. I must admit that although I had found Confidential Restricted and Secret Restricted, I had not found TOP SECRET RESTRICTED. Does that mean it wasn't used? NO, since we have seen only a small amount of TS material. It should be noted that often highly classified information from one administration was carried over to the next at the White House rather than being sent to the appropriate presidential Library. The Ike Library had a number of documents from the Truman era that were not at the Truman Library.

The uncertainty was removed when the General Accounting Office in its pursuit in many archives for Roswell-related material made the following statement on page 80 of their 400-plus-page report on their Roswell Investigation:
Dec. 7, 1994, Ms. LJ and I reviewed records pertaining to the Air Force's atomic energy and certain mission and weapons requirements. These files were classified up to and including Top Secret. The period covered by these records was from 1948-1956. There was no mention of the Roswell Incident. No information pertaining to the assignment was obtained. In several instances we noticed the classification Top Secret Restricted used on several documents. This is mentioned because in past references to this classification (Majestic 12) we were told that it was not used during this period." [Italics added]
I tried to obtain copies of the materials they had seen. I was told that the materials were still classified. Clearly absence of evidence was NOT evidence for absence. An obvious question is why would a clever forger use a security marking that was so uncommon rather than just a plain vanilla TOP SECRET? How did he know to place a slant red pencil mark through the marking? I was informed that this was standard practice prior to declassification. An obscure detail indeed.

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